Life History of Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center’s Map Turtles
Carpenter Nature Center’s Map Turtles were hatched out of eggs in 2012 after a predator dug up the nesting area. The hatchlings were adopted into the CNC education department in October 2012. We do not know if our turtles are male or female yet, but it is likely they are males due to their incubation temperature.
Carpenter Nature Center’s turtles are wonderful ambassadors, teaching thousands of visitors every year about our natural environment and the diversity of wildlife life found in our region. Our turtles will live a comfortable life with humans, as they are provided with all the food they need and are safe from predators. They may live to be 50 years old! Fossil records of Map Turtles can be found from the Pleistocene Era while there are other fossil records of turtles dating back to the Triassic Period!
Ouachita Map Turtles are considered to be common throughout their range in Minnesota and Wisconsin. However, this highly aquatic turtle is susceptible to water pollution. To see Map Turtles in the wild, take a trip along the Mississippi River. If you see turtles basking on a log, take a look through your binoculars to observe their silhouettes. Map Turtles have an obvious ridged back. Just don’t approach too quickly as they are very wary and will dive off the log into the river. And once one turtle dives-they all do! Typically the only turtles left still sitting on the log are Painted Turtles which do not have the ridges on their carapace.
Reptile species are often put at risk due to over-collection for the pet trade. If you are fortunate enough to see Map Turtles in the wild, please leave them alone and enjoy the opportunity to watch a wild creatures in their natural environment.